Doing your homework on Ready to Move homes

Convenience is one of the main reasons for buying a Ready to Move (RTM) home. Buy your customized dream house or cottage, move it onto your dream property and live happily ever after. End of story, right?

Often that eventually is exactly what happens. However, getting from point A, purchase to point B, living happily ever after, can be made easier by some up-front homework, especially, when it comes to financing and permits.

“The purchase of an RTM home can be a little trickier for lenders to consider financing buyers due to the variables within each purchasing situation,” says Laura Gallaher, a Winnipeg mortgage specialist. “For example, it has been my experience that most lenders may only consider financing RTMs if the unit is going onto land that is owned by the buyer. If the land is leased, very few lenders will entertain thoughts of financing.”

Gallaher says people hoping to buy an RTM home and move it onto leased land should be aware of that and explore their situation before they step forward with purchase.

Evy Rosteski, a mobile mortgage specialist for Westoba Credit Union, agrees that financing for RTMs is a different process than the steps that traditional homeowners might be used to. A big reason for this, she says, is that every RTM purchase is different. The key is contacting professional lending staff or mobile mortgage specialists to discuss the RTM buyer’s situation and options in detail.

“Just as every RTM is different, so is every RTM mortgage,” says Rosteski.

Get it in writing

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website, the first rule of buying a home is to get it in writing. A contract, or Agreement of Purchase and Sale, as it is often referred to, spells out the terms between you and your builder — who, what, how, when and how much. It also sets out the rights, restrictions and obligations for each party.

Without a detailed contract, there may be no reference point in case of a misunderstanding or disagreement between you and your builder. It may be impossible to prove what was agreed to, and difficult to enforce any arrangement or promise that’s not written down. A detailed fact sheet on purchasing a home can be found on the CMHC website at http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/buho_004.cfm.

Permits

Once the contract is hammered out and the areas around financing are in order, the other area that often is new to RTM owners is the permits required. RTM buyers are often encouraged to work closely with their builders to ensure all aspects of moving the RTM and the permits required are looked after. Some firms offer transportation and permits as part of the deal while others may recommend an independent contractor.

For those looking at moving their own RTM, there are a number of arrangements and permits that need to be made prior to any move through the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation.

Once the RTM has been transported, the jurisdiction it is arriving in also has permit requirements.

Chris Hunt, planning officer for the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, encourages all RTM purchasers to check with their municipality’s planning offices before their final purchase.

“RTMs have to meet the present-day code in the jurisdiction they are being moved to,” says Hunt. “Any structure moved is treated as brand new. It has to meet all the various codes such as fire code and building code.”

Hunt says in his municipality that RTMs moved from outside the planning district are inspected by the authority having jurisdiction of that area and a copy of the building inspection report and permit application must be provided. He says that many RTM builders have qualified building inspectors on site who ensure these documents are included with the sale, and that RTM buyers should ensure that is the case. When it is not included, says Hunt, inspection fees shall be applied.

“When there are no permits with the RTM purchase, we carry out the inspection,” says Hunt. “The inspection fees may equal a new residential fee plus mileage.”

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